Coal continues to falter as SSE reveals plans to fully close Fiddler’s Ferry, its last remaining coal-fired power station.
Earlier this year the energy giant announced the closure of one of the four units at the Fiddler’s Ferry site, located in Warrington, Cheshire. Now, the entire plant is to close after its current Capacity Market contract comes to an end in September. SSE plans for the station to be completely shuttered by 31 March 2020.
The plant had an original capacity of 1995MW, dropping to 1510MW after the closure of Unit 1. It lost around £40 million in SSE’s last financial year, a figure which it says made the station unsustainable.
Fiddler’s Ferry isn’t the only plant set to close in the next year. EDF Energy’s 2GW Cottam coal-fired power station is to close in September after the company deemed it economically unviable.
Coal across the UK is on the decline, with the country achieving a landmark fortnight of coal-free generation last month and unabated coal-fired generation to be phased out by 2025.
Indeed, by the time Fiddler's Ferry completely shuts down its furnaces, the UK will be left with just five coal-fired power stations.
The closure also plays into the UK’s net zero targets as the government announced this week it will legislate for a 2050 target.
Stephen Wheeler, managing director of thermal energy at SSE, said the decision to close Fiddler’s Ferry was taken as it was no longer able to compete with more modern and efficient gas and renewable generation.
“We have a talented and dedicated team at Fiddler’s Ferry and our priority is to support employees and ensure they have a range of options available to them for the future. SSE is proud of the social and economic contributions the station and our employees have made for the local area and wider society.”